Michael Frontenac Lapadula, 83, a retired Washington area general surgeon who specialized in heavy trauma cases, died of complications from a blood disorder July 20 at Virginia Hospital Center.
Dr. Lapadula had a medical practice in Arlington for more than 35 years until his retirement in 1994. During that time, he was associated with Georgetown University Hospital, D.C. General Hospital, Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital and Arlington Hospital, now Virginia Hospital Center.
At Arlington Hospital, Dr. Lapadula was an emergency room surgeon, a position that placed him in the forefront of some of the hospital's toughest cases: gunshot victims, motorcycle accident victims, patients with severe burns.
He performed a considerable amount of pro bono work as well, treating the indigent in the Washington area and abroad. He made five month-long trips to India between 1965 and 1980 to see patients at Holy Family Hospital in Mandar. The hospital was founded by one of his medical school classmates, Eileen Niedfield.
Dr. Lapadula, who had lived in Arlington since 2002 and before that in Washington, was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y.
He served in the Navy during World War II and participated in the campaigns of Guadalcanal, Saipan and Tarawa as a medical corpsman with the 2nd Marine Division.
His experiences in the South Pacific later inspired him to become an ardent student of World War II history.
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and then from Georgetown University medical school in 1951. His medical training included time as chief surgical resident at Georgetown University Hospital, a fellow in surgery at Memorial Hospital in New York and a head and neck cancer surgery specialist at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.
He was a member of the American Board of Surgery, the James Ewing Society, the Washington Medical-Surgical Society and the Pan-American Medical Association.
He also was a collector of fine arts, a voracious reader and an enthusiastic traveler, especially to museums in Europe.
His marriage to Ruth Lapadula ended in divorce. His second wife, Dorothy Lapadula, died in 1995.
Survivors include two sons from his first marriage, Michael L. Lapadula of Washington and Marc Lapadula of Wallingford, Pa.; two stepdaughters, Maureen "Missy" Snelling and Cynthia Snelling, both of Arlington; and two brothers.